Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 5011 ..
current guidelines are coming up to five years of operation and this is a good opportunity to review the content and purpose of the guidelines to ensure that they are delivering the outcomes that we as a community would like to see.
While the current process for place naming involves a number of consultation opportunities, particularly with the families of those being considered for commemoration, I am interested to explore opportunities for greater community input and feedback on potential names prior to making final decisions on place names. This will allow an important opportunity for the broader community to comment on proposed naming and give them the capacity to raise concerns or provide further information to the Place Names Committee prior to final naming decisions being made.
In relation to issues with specific names, the government is always open to receive information from the community. I note that the Place Names Committee has an existing process for receiving and reviewing complaints from the community, and this has led to name changes in the past.
While the researching process for potential names is quite intensive, further information may be held by the community, and I encourage members of the community to be proactive in providing evidence and information to the Place Names Committee where it is believed that particular persons or names conflict with community standards.
I understand place names can be an emotive issue for the community, especially as community values change over time and new information comes to light. We must strike the right balance between commemorating important figures in the development of our city and our nation and ensuring the people we choose to commemorate reflect the values and standards of the society we choose to be.
I welcome the motion put forward by Ms Cody. I commend her for initiating this serious and worthwhile community debate and her passionate advocacy for more community input into the government’s place naming process. The motion deserves to receive the support of all members in the Assembly as it provides an important opportunity to review the government’s place naming process to ensure that it continues to reflect the standards of the community we seek to serve.
MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (5.31), in reply: What an interesting day in the last sitting week of the year. Certainly it has opened our eyes to a few things. I thank those who have contributed to the debate this afternoon. I thank Ms Le Couteur for opening the door on many other street names that have different connotations and can be pronounced in different ways.
As outlined in my motion, it is really important that we understand, as Mr Gentleman has already stated, that many places in Canberra, including suburbs and streets, are named after historical persons—that is not up for debate; that is how it is—but that the behaviour of some of those persons may not meet today’s community standards. I understand that often times do change. There were times in our past when things were celebrated that today are not.